Here, she’s fresh-faced, sunburned, and somewhat modestly dressed, in pieces that look sturdy, but not particularly stylish. This is notable because really, Megan never dressed this way, not even when she was his secretary. From the minute she appeared on the scene at SCDP, she was always brightly and stylishly dressed in the latest in 1964/5 styles. They weren’t as expensive as the clothes she wears as his wife, but they sure didn’t look like this. Either a mistake was made in the costuming (which is extraordinarily unlikely) or we can take this as a visual cue that Don’s memory of her isn’t reliable. Megan was always glamorous, but he’s playing a memory of her as simpler and more maternal than she ever really was.
Once again, I think Tom and Lorenzo have nailed it. There has been some confusion about why Don’s car flashback of Megan even happened, but I think this is it. Don is remembering Megan as she was not all that long ago, when their love was all new and freshlike, except she never looked like that in the first place. We all love the beginnings of things, but we don’t all distort them in this fashion.
I’ve been amazed at how many people seem to read this episode as being essentially optimistic in how it portrays Don and Megan’s relationship. This scene was but one clue of many that they are in serious trouble. Megan is a strong, centered young woman who is perhaps still somewhat emotionally immature. She might fare just fine with an older man who is emotionally stable and flexible, but Don is too emotionally damaged and his coping style is too deeply entrenched in mechanisms of control.
They are so dunzo. It’s just a matter of time.